As we head into the 40th Black History Month (AKA African American History Month and #BlackFutureMonth), we feature a guest post from UW Press Senior Designer Thomas Eykemans on the creative process behind Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley. The book won an award in the Scholarly Illustrated category of the 2016 AAUP Book, Jacket and Journal Show.
As the first detailed investigation of Black women’s participation in comic art, Black Women in Sequence examines the representation, production, and transnational circulation of women of African descent in the sequential art world. In this groundbreaking study, which includes interviews with artists and writers, Whaley suggests that the treatment of the Black female subject in sequential art says much about the place of people of African descent in national ideology in the United States and abroad. Below, Eykemans walks us through the collaborative design.
Comics are one of my favorite visual mediums, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that I would have the opportunity to work on this book. With a diverse range of imagery to draw from and challenging themes to approach, I reached out to the author to help clarify the intention of her book and how I might best represent that in the cover design. Deborah identified the comic strip Friday Foster as the ideal source for a striking cover image. Friday Foster was the first black female comic strip character in a mainstream publication.